Kodiak adds to Bakken acreage with Williston Basin acquisition

Looking to add to its Bakken Shale leasehold, Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. has entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement with a private oil and gas company to acquire additional producing properties and undeveloped leasehold in the Williston Basin for approximately $235 million in cash. 

The Denver-based company is just one of many oil and gas companies operating in the Bakken profiting from high crude oil prices

Kodiak has agreed to assume the seller's term-contract for a drilling rig, subject to the rig owner's consent. Kodiak expects to fund the transaction through available cash balances and through borrowings under credit facilities, which would include an expanded borrowing base revolving credit facility and an expanded second-lien term loan. 

Upon completion of the transaction, Kodiak will acquire 13,500 net mineral acres located principally in Williams County, North Dakota in an area just north of the company's Koala Project area. Earlier in the summer, Kodiak Oil completed its acquisition of 25,000 net Williston Basin acres in McKenzie County, North Dakota, for approximately $87 million in cash and stock. That acquisition also added leasehold close to the company’s core Koala, Smokey and Grizzly project areas.

Estimated net oil and gas production included in the most recent acquisition is projected to be approximately 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, (boe/d) at closing. The transaction will expand Kodiak's acreage position in the Williston Basin to nearly 110,000 net acres. Kodiak will assume operatorship of 15 drilling units on the contiguous leasehold to be acquired. 

The transaction includes a working interest in six gross (4.6 net) operated producing wells. The acquisition also includes three gross (1.5 net) wells that have been drilled and are waiting on completion, two of which are projected to be completed before closing, one gross (0.35 net) well currently drilling, and four permitted and built locations. Once the four permitted wells are drilled, nearly all of the leasehold to be acquired will be held by production by early 2012.

Based upon Kodiak's internal evaluation of the production profile and history from the wells drilled within the acreage block, the company projects an average per-well estimated ultimate recovery of 650,000 boe from the Bakken formation. No wells have been drilled on these lands testing the Three Forks Formation. However, it is the company's belief that this formation should be productive based upon its early completion results on the Koala Project Area to the south, and based upon recent activity from other industry well results. If both formations are productive, the company believes that the acquired lands could allow for over 75 operated locations. 

Included in the acquisition are certain surface equipment and gas pipeline connection facilities that tie into a regional third-party natural gas gathering system. The operated lands are located within a few miles of a crude oil railway terminal and interstate pipeline interconnect that is expected to be fully in service during 2012. Also included in the transaction is a newly drilled salt water disposal well and water gathering pipelines. 

The drilling rig contract that Kodiak has agreed to assume is currently drilling the last of the four wells under the primary contract and, subject to the rig owners' consent, it will provide Kodiak with an option for a 12-well extension. With the addition of this rig, and the new-build rig that is expected to be delivered in October 2011, the company will be operating a total of six drilling rigs. Kodiak is also participating with an approximate 50% non-operated working interest under leasehold in Dunn County where two rigs are presently drilling. 

The addition of the rig associated with the transaction is not expected to materially change the company's 2011 capital expenditure requirements. Kodiak projects that anticipated cash flow generated from these properties should exceed the capital requirements of the current projected drilling and completion program for these lands. As previously announced, Kodiak's estimated 2011 capital expenditure guidance for drilling, completions, and infrastructure remains at $230 million. 

The acquisition is expected to close in late October 2011. 

Expanded credit facilities
The company has executed a commitment letter from its lender, Wells Fargo Bank NA, with respect to an amendment to and an increase in available capacity under the company's borrowing base revolving credit facility. The agreement will facilitate an increase in the company's borrowing base to $225 million from the prior level of $110 million, and will expand committed capacity to the same level. Kodiak currently has no borrowings drawn on the first-lien revolver. The expansion of the credit facilities will be based primarily on Kodiak's drilling results to date and on production and reserves expected to be added through the recent acquisition agreement. 

In addition, the company has executed a commitment letter from Wells Fargo Energy Capital Inc. for an expansion of its senior secured second-lien term loan facility to a commitment of $75 million, an increase of $20 million from the previous commitment. Documentation for the new credit facilities, which will include customary closing conditions, is expected to be executed contemporaneously with the closing of the Williston Basin acquisition. 

Commenting on the transaction, Kodiak's chairman and CEO Lynn Peterson said, "We continue to execute on our stated goal of acquiring contiguous, operated leasehold in the heart of the Bakken play. Today's transaction, when closed, will add significantly to our leasehold and complements our core operating area in McKenzie County where we have been completing strong producing wells.” 

"This acquisition, when closed, brings our total leasehold position in the core Bakken play to over 100,000 net acres with over a 10-year inventory of drilling, based upon our current drilling program. Increasing our operated rig count to six rigs should allow us to support a full-time dedicated frac crew which we will work to achieve by year-end." 

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